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Hygiene is important because it protects the baby against diseases and makes the baby feel well. The mother’s hands or of whom takes care of the baby should always be clean and the nails short.
To facilitate the bath time it is good to let everything prepared before putting the baby in the water. It is necessary to check if the water is not too hot. This can be made by putting your elbow in the water and feeling if the water temperature is comfortable. This prevents burns.
The face and the head shall be washed before putting the baby in the water. This prevents that the leftovers of pee and pooh contaminate the water and cause inflammation in the baby’s eyes.
The baby needs to be hold firmly not to get scared. In order to facilitate it is good to support the baby with one arm and wash him/her with the other.
The skin folds of the neck, the arms and the legs should be wiped to avoid galls. It is advisable to separate a soft tissue or towel only for the baby. The talc does not need to be used because it has no use. The baby has to be dressed with comfortable clothes and that do not tighten his/her movements.
Each time the diaper gets wet it needs to be changed. The baby’s buttock should be cleaned, washed and wiped well each change of diaper. This prevents galls and infections.
To clean the baby girls the wet tissue should be passed in the vulva (the external genitals) from the front to the backside. This care avoids that the faeces contaminate the vagina and the pee little hole.
To clean the baby boy it is important to pull back the skin of the penis gently, cleaning well the leftovers of urine and faeces which might be between the skin folds. This avoids infections.
The umbilical cord usually falls within 14 days from the childbirth. The bandage of the umbilical cord should be changed every day till the belly button falls. The best product to use is alcohol 70%. This alcohol can be bought at the drugstore/chemists or obtained at the Health Service.
In order to make the bandage it is necessary to wipe well the belly button after the bath and pass on a wet plaster deepened in alcohol 70% on it. It is not advisable to put on adhesive plaster, a band made of cloth or a soft belt around the umbilical stump. Those would prevent the baby from breathing and the belly button from falling.
Attention: if after the belly button has fallen some bleeding, red skin or bad smell in that place it is necessary to take the baby to the doctor immediately.
In some babies it may appear some white spots in the mouth, which look like clotted milk. This can be thrush. The treatment is made as follows:
• One glass of very clean water;
• One pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda);
• Wet a clean tissue in this liquid and clean the mouth of the baby before breastfeeding;
• Wet the other end of the tissue and clean the nipples and the areola before and after each breastfeeding;
• After the tissue has been used it should be thrown away.
It is recommended to take the baby to the doctor if the white mouth does not disappear.
Signs of Danger for the baby’s Health from the birth till the second month
Leader, it is important that the family members know how to identify the signs of danger for the baby’s health. Instruct them to watch for them and to go to hospital if the baby shows any of those:
In these visits it is important to:
Ask how the childbirth was;
Deliver, read and talk to the mother abut the Love Bonds Cards: “the baby in the first month” and Signs of danger for the baby till the second month;
Talk about breastfeeding and observe the baby´s right sucking position (page 112);
Leader, in the first visits still ask:
How the bandage is being made in the umbilical cord;
If the baby has been weighed in hospital and, in case he/she has not, instruct the mother to take the baby to the Health Service to be weighed;
If the hospital filled in and delivered the Child’s Health Card;
If the baby has taken the BCG vaccines and against Hepatitis B;
If the Guthrie Test has been made;
Register this baby in the Leader’s Notebook on the same page as the mother’s and answer to questions 1 and 2, according to the explanations of page 141.
Task suggestion for this qualification stage:
Visit one baby to observe breastfeeding.
Think of ideas to encourage breastfeeding.